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Nick and Jessica Variety Hour, The Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 August 2004

The Nick And Jessica Variety Hour

Image Entertainment
MPAA rating: NR
starring: Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson and guests
theatrical release year: N/A
DVD release year: 2004
film rating: Two Stars
sound/picture: One-and-a-Half Stars
reviewed by: Paul Lingas

This dip into the variety format by “Newlyweds” star couple Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson is a modestly successful enterprise that recalls the Sonny and Cher show of yesteryear. In fact, they conclude the skit-based show with “I’ve Got You Babe,” which Sonny and Cher made famous singing on their program.

This type of variety program takes a bit of talent to pull off, and though there are some entertaining bits, most notably the Nick La Shave shaving system, many of the jokes prove to be a bit too corny and miss the beat. There is plenty of music, featuring duets with Jewel, Kenny Rogers, Babyface and none other than K.I.T.T., the car from the 1980s show “Knight Rider.” This is cool, you have to admit, though the skit itself isn’t all that great and the voice of the car is different. The big question on everyone’s minds should be, where’s David Hasselhoff? Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog show up with another funny Muppet in the show’s best sequence, Mr. T makes a very funny appearance and a few stabs are taken at other pop stars, most notably nemeses Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.

You have to hand it to Nick and Jessica for trying the variety format, something that has not been done successfully in years. They are ready to sing, dance, act and make fun of themselves, which is a requirement for this type of program. They are ultimately both very likable people and show a genuine desire to be entertaining, though Nick seems the more relaxed and natural of the two. It was originally hoped that this hour program might be the beginning of a longer-running show, especially since Nick and Jessica have called an end to their “Newlyweds” show on MTV after two seasons, rightfully pointing out that they are no longer newlyweds. Though it received modest ratings, it is still to be determined whether or not the “Variety Hour” will ever make it back.

This is straight to DVD from the original airing, so there are no thrills, frills or spills. Aspect ration is standard TV and the sound is Dolby Digital stereo. There is one menu page and only two options on the whole disc: a scene index and a play-all. The image is a bit shaky at times and there is color bleeding at the edges of sharply defined objects, like red dresses and curtains. According to production notes, the taping was put onto film, but the quality of the transfer to DVD is not evident. It seems to be a second-generation copy at least, judging from the lack of crispness. Nevertheless, it’s just a TV show, so there isn’t much to worry about in terms of production quality. One aspect that should always be considered a perk about DVD television is the blessed lack of commercial interruptions.

Followers of the pop power duo will no doubt find this a must-have, but once you’ve seen it once, that pretty much takes care of things. It would be nice to see Nick and Jessica have a few more shows, just to see where it might lead. It is old-fashioned wholesome family entertainment that does still have a place in the market, if only the producers and stars care to give it a whirl.

more details
sound format:
English Dolby Digital Stereo
aspect ratio(s):
1.33:1 for Standard TV
special features: None
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Panasonic DVD-XP50
receiver: Denon AVR-3802
main speakers: Polk RT 600i
center speaker: Polk CS 400i
rear speakers: Polk S4
monitor: 43” Sony KP-43HT20

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